I shot the Myrm, but I did not kill the Dominix

As my last remaining reader may recall, I live in WH space, staging with NOMEX out of a C2.  And while fleet fights are awesome fun with our solid FCs, occasionally I get “wanderlust”, drift away with my two characters and deliberately go down chains with EOL holes.  When the last known connection expired, when the bookmarks become stale and old, I really get the old feeling of being totally isolated and alone.  Whether I engage hostiles or not, whether I live or die, win or lose is now all up to me, no excuses, no regrets.

And so I drifted from Wormhole to Wormhole over the weekend with my Legion and my Stratios, sniffing around dozens of holes, checking out citadels for activity, keeping a mental log of how many anomalies or gas sites should be there but are not (indicating recent PVE), checking if the POCOs are allied with the citadel owners, checking the citadel owner’s killboard and so on.  Much has changed (for the worse) in WH intel since POSes are gone but I just try to get a feel for each hole I travel to and get a mental image of the people who live there.

I bumble into a C1 with a static Low Sec connection.  Its a very large system (which is good, so I can make excellent safe spots to log off in) and I tend to like C1s.  In general, they are inhabited by PvE guys who seek riches from PI, hacking, mining (the anomalies are nearly worthless) and of course as manufacturing base.  I look around and see an Astrahus and 2 (!) Athanors pulling in rocks.  All owned by a 7 man corp (i.e. 1 guy with 3 accounts and 2 Jita trade toons).  A single POCO is being reinforced, comes out in 24 hours or so.  I shall sleep here tonight.

The next day, I am working from home where I can put my character 1000 km off the Astrahus and watch for activity while I am on the phone or answer emails. Nothing happens really, but the timer on the POCO faithfully counts down. The CEO / main of my “host” logs in a few times, takes a Helios out and scans, checks out the POCO (yes, still there!).  A Gnosis warps around the system and I am getting clammy hands – I could take a Gnosis easily with my two characters, especially if he runs any one of the anomalies (for which I have tacticals, warp-in, warp-out etc…).  But the Gnosis re-docks and nothing happens.  Oh well, the wormhole deity “Bob” rewards patience and patient I am.

Kinda

Its evening now and I am on comms with my corpmates who “roll for content” and scream for pilots to log in. I am stuck in this C1 like a sad person without friends and watch an empty structure.  It wears my patience down.  The LS connection from here is terrible, somewhere off the map in Minmatar space and we have a Frigate hole which I watch attentively. Frigate holes never bring things I can catch my cruisers but can bring a lot of stuff that can hurt me.

Action!  Two guys undock from the citadel, a Myrmidon (still an amazing looking ship) and a Dominix.  Solid, hard-ass, well tanked drone platforms, about the worst that I could deal with.  They can be built in active tank to withstand any DPS I have.  I know this because I love both hulls, they are still my favorite ships in the game.  They warp off to another POCO and eject 10 Ogre II.

POCO Bashing

Well… So if this is how they bash POCOs, I am not sure I can do anything about that.  These are really hard nuts to crack each and I have two of them.  10 Ogres II can mess up my sunny day and while my Legion has decent tank, most Domis have Neuts in their high slots.

I decide to wait.  I can be here for days if I need to.  They have 2 (!) Athanors pulling rocks, one of the rocks is ~ 1-2 days from fracturing (I measure rock speed, I am that guy).  Bob’s Patience.

Other Real Life things happen and I am afk for a little.  When I get back the two targets are in the exact same spot which makes me think that they could be AFK.  Risk it?  Just drop on it?

I casually watch while doing work-stuff on the other screen when an Astero drops out of nowhere on-grid. He is not cloaked (idiot) and just sits there.  The pilot is not part of this corp but comes from a WH outfit.  He must have come from the Frigate hole.  So, my thinking goes, if my targets don’t react to this they could be AFK and I should risk it.  

Caution gets the better of me.  That and real life again.  10 minutes pass when I decide that its late and I need to log for the night. Bob is more pleased by a small kill with patience than a reckless banzai charge.

I turn my Legion around and initiate warp to my safe spot.  Its 50 or more AU away and I am mentally logged off when I see a flash on my overview, a Hound Stealth Bomber is on grid and I see the distinct icon of a bomb hurtling toward my target.  But I am in warp already!  Damn it!

I warp the 50 AU and yank on my reigns, turn the cruiser around and warp back.  It takes forever and when I finally land, nothing has changed. The Myrm and the Domi still peck away on the POCO, all Ogres are circling and no sight of bombs or bomber.  My targets were afk through a bomb attack?  They have to be afk.  They must be.

Oh for Bobs sake: !!!BANZAI!!!.  

Without thinking, I warp my Legion to zero onto the POCO, activate my tank and tackle the Myrm.  The “plan” (there really isn’t) is to burn down the Myrm, then the Domi as fast as I can.  I briefly think about killing the drones first but dismiss it because both boats have enormous drone bays and I would be on grid forever, giving the bomber boys a chance to get their stuff together and come with a swarm of angry frigates and destroyers.  No, this either goes fast or it doesn’t go at all.

While my Legion scrams, shoots, has drones out and a Neut (not going to be much good but whatever), I struggle with my Stratios.  I never really liked the boat, yes, its a jack-of-all-trades but it does everything worse than a Strategic Cruiser.  It has no tank, so it has to be stand-off, it has anemic DPS but its relatively quick.  So, I circle at 20km and send drones downrange,  I even have some lasers in the high adding measly DPS.  But there is so much that needs to be done manually that I am getting overwhelmed.

While I wrestle with the Stratios, something  scrams my Legion. I think its the Myrm and don’t pay attention, that guy is going down hard and fast.  I am now dipping into armor which is fine, the Myrm is breaking.  Its harder than it looks but the drones from the Stratios are now landing and his end is swift.  The Myrm blows up and the pod races off.  Now for the Domi.  Shit, he is scramming me.  Should I get away?  He is not neuting, I can try to burn him down. His tank is untested.  He may just have all DPS on a POCO basher for all I know.  I target and shoot. Damn, my Legion has Rapid Lights, great for ambush but terrible for prolonged fights.  I reload. It takes forever.  My armor is 1/2 which really means I should get out of here. The Stratios and my combined 10 medium drones finally crack into the Dominix.  D-scan clear, no sign of the frigate boys and their bombers.  Oh come on, clench your cheeks and hammer through this.  The Domi armor gives faster than my Legion.  Its now a race who can hold out longer.  I am losing the race.  My alarms screech.

I realize that I am losing the Legion if I stay on grid and align to somewhere.  My MWD is useless of course, I need to get out of his scram range before I can get away.  He target paints me now as well which helps his Ogres a little I think but that really makes me thing that he is not as harmless as I thought he was.  Damnit, I am not going to make it.  Hull alarm is sounding, I overheat whatever I can but it doesn’t matter.  My legion blows up in a fireball and I warp my pod away.  My Stratios stays on grid, he is way outside scram range and maybe, just maybe if I can keep shooting the Domi just dies?  Without holding it down myself, its unlikely but I’ll try.  Suddenly his Ogres are on top of me and within 1 salvo I am in 1/2 armor.  The painter shines on me now, this Domi is not going down, he is staying on grid and slugging it out.  I D-scan and see a “Hound” somewhere, not on grid but I know now that the frigate boys are finally inbound.  If I don’t pull away, I’ll lose the Strat to someone.

I disengage, offer GF in local and head my pod for the LS.  Only way to get him back to civilization, 20j through low sec.  I feel that at every gate, a bell rings and people shout “Shame” as I run the gauntlet.  To make my shame complete, I decide to convo my target and get ready for well-deserved insults, gloating, Drake-memes etc but none of that happens.  My target is a thoroughly nice chap, we chat about WH life, fits, the danger from the frigate holes etc. No asshattery at all and I don’t feel quite as terrible anymore when I make it to Jita, reload my loss mail and click “buy all”. Because, what killed me was not the fit, it was skill and situational awareness.  And thoroughly underestimating my target…

However, Bob is moderately pleased with my performance and may his blessing shine upon my next roaming venture….

 

And yes, I thought the title of this post was really clever.  Maybe not.  Good song tho!

 

 

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Bait is useless if not taken

Its been a while since I wrote on these hallowed pages, may both my remaining readers forgive me for spending more time at work, outdoors (spring?) and in Fallout 4 (survival).  By the way, Survival is the only way Fallout 4 should be played.  Its unforgiving, awesome and truly scary. The fact that death has real consequences makes stalking through open fields and dungeons so much more rewarding.  Yes, Fallout 4 gives me the shakes.

But back to EVE.  Our little corporation Z3R0 Return Mining (and yes we are recruiting, contact Epigene in game) lives in a C4 wormhole with access to C3 and C5 neighbors plus of course frequent incoming connections to pretty much everywhere.  A few days ago, I find myself logging in and scanning down an incoming connection from another C4 hole, mentally add scouting it to my to-do-list and proceed with a little bit of PI and a whole load of AFK-ness while the evening matures.

My corpmate Storm logs in for a little and we chat on comms while casually shutting down our respective RL households for the night when suddenly a Vexor Navy Issue appears from the incoming C4 and beelines to one of our gas sites.  A VNI is a fine boat (I have several) but this specific site spawns several sleeper frigates and cruisers, some web, some neut, all shoot.  Its a site type I know well and I tend to drop a Dominix into it rather than a Vexor but I am all ears how our guest wants to run it with a cruiser.  Turns out, he doesn’t do it well.  His drones get shot down, he is too slow and has to warp off.  Back to his hole, only to return with a Gila.  Oh, really.

Now to be fair, neither Storm nor I have really paid attention.  For all we know, there could be dozens of cloaked ships in our system cleaning their launchers.  A Gila can be brick-tanked, they hit like a dump-truck and his cavalry is at worst one jump over.  This is exactly how bait smells like.

We take it, of course.  My Proteus does his bull terrier thing, drops to zero km on the Gila and grabs him by the nuts.  I launch a couple of Hammerheads and start with the blasters while at the same time my other character in his Stratios lands and releases his complement of drones.  I have neuts on this boat but Gilas tend to be passive tanked and I am not too concerned about keeping it up.  Being in our own home system has a distinct advantage, Storm reshipped into a Deimos, undocks from our citadel and warps toward, then lands on top of us and makes the Gila go dead really fast.  Throughout this time, Storm had a character in a Falcon cloaked up on their hole but no hostile cavalry ever arrived.  The pod escapes our fangs and warps off.  I chase after it and a little bit recklessly jump into their system.  My logic is that if a trap had been set, it would have sprung when we dropped on the Gila.  It wasn’t and hence isn’t.  My jumping into their system is pretty safe and I make the usual complements of safe spots and tactical bookmarks around their citadels.

To be honest, they have a pretty decent size crew here, 4 citadels with a total of 6 characters docked up, likely one or two more cloaked somewhere (we saw a bomber earlier).  Not a brawl we can take head-on in a fair fleet fight (Storm and I can field 2 characters each and neither of us is elite PvP-er).  But if they were stupid once, they might be stupid again?

The waiting starts.  The locals undock a bunch of ships, even a hauler, an Epithal (!) but they only to move between citadels.  Its a surprising amount of activity for a corporation that has overtly hostile neighbors.  Interesting.

Finally, I have enough and scan down their C2 static connection, the only other signature in this place.  My presence here is not a secret, might as well see where the connections are.  Suddenly a Rattlesnake undocks from the citadel and warps to my newly identified C2.  Now that is bait if we ever saw it.  The Rattle jumps into the C2, my Proteus after it (impossible that they don’t know that I am here by now) and I am bringing my Stratios into the C4.  Storm is around with his Falcon but to be honest, we shouldn’t jump a Rattlesnake with an entire system full of hostiles between our home and the target.  That would be dumb, foolish and suicidal.

So, thats exactly what we do.

The tactics is the same as for the Gila, I drop my Proteus onto the Rattlesnake and grab him while bringing in my Stratios and guide in Storm’s DPS boat.  The idea is to overheat everything and burn the Rattle to the ground as fast as can be done before his friends arrive.

The view from my Stratios

 

The Rattlesnake targets my Stratios and he hurts me badly.  I have neuts on him primarily to shut down his tank and his launchers but I can’t do anything against his drones.  As a battleship, he is stationary and I turn off the webs to conserve cap. The fight keeps going, Storm lands on grid and adds considerable DPS.

Then, nearly as expected, 4 cruiser-size ships land on top of us and D-scan shows a bomber somewhere.  Our opposition even brings a an Exequror logistics boat.  I only have two scout-class ships both in 1/2 armor, Storm has his ship and a Falcon nearby.  We can’t win this and we bail – very luckily, neither Storm nor my characters are tackled.  I credit my neuts, that bait Rattlesnake should have had tackle and I probably had sucked him dry.  Lucky, I guess.  The hostiles spam local with oh-so scary taunts.

Disengaged, we decide that its a terrible idea to jump back through their system into ours.  We have no idea whats on the other side and if it was me in their shoes, there would be bubbles.  So, while Storm moonwalks around the system, I scan down the high sec and we both camp out in safety.

Lessons learned?  Sometimes obvious bait isn’t and sometimes it is. But you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

 

Not every Gnosis is bait…

As my remaining two readers may recall, most of my Wormhole posts start with “and then I opened our new connection“.  This post is no different.

The adventure starts when I jump into our newly-spawned C3 neighbor and to my dismay find that it is a “shattered hole”.   For you sad k-space dwellers, Shattered Systems have more variety of anomalies and signatures, ice belts but no moons to anchor a POS on and of course you can’t park a Citadel there either.  CCP went back to the whole concept that WH space was designed for transient occupation at best.  Its also a riskier hunting ground since they – generally – have more connections are are quite big, something can easily hide off-Dscan for example. Continue reading

Duck Season

 

It is no secret to my last remaining pair of readers that our corporation (Z3ro Return Mining) lives in C4 space with an ever-changing C3 neighbor.  Life and wormholes are like boxes of chocolates, you never know what you find when you open one; C3s are quite popular actually since they always have a connection to K-space and hence allow the riches of Wormhole life with the added advantage of easy access to the markets.

Last Monday, Oreamnos Amric and myself find ourselves alone at home, Orea is our CEO, Alliance Boss, Supreme Commander and Dear Leader.  He also manages our corp payouts so I suck up to him.  While Orea is doing accounting things, I open our C3 with my scouting Proteus whilst having my alt in a Stratios on standby in our hole.  D-scan shows me 3 Tengus, a tractor unit and a mess of wrecks.  I quickly move, cloak and with narrow beam find out where these site runners are and within 10s, I have eyes on them from 100km. Continue reading

Wormhole Hobo

It really feels weird to be docked in a station – there is something unnatural about being invulnerable, visible and blind to the events outside.  Basically, its the exact opposite of being in a Wormhole.  But after 3 weeks of bumming with my team of alts through a myriad of holes, it is nice to take a break. I always imagine my Gallente characters visiting houses of ill repute while my lone Caldari character character is left inventorying the spoils of the trip.

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A new experience

Well, my little ambush in a site-running C1 / Blackhole didn’t quite work out, the locals appeared to be online somewhere but were not considerate enough to show themselves in ships that I could take down. Or show themselves at all.  By now, time had severed our static connections and my little fleet of alts had floated away from their empire base like ants trapped in a soap bubble.  When I scanned down the new connection, I found myself miles and miles from nowhere.

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